The iconic Ramova Theatre is set to reopen in Chicago with the help of Quincy Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Chance The Rapper. The three natives of the city are now part of an ownership group that has reclaimed the theater which first opened in 1929.
The Ramova was a popular movie theater in the Bridgeport neighborhood of South Side Chicago until it shut down in 1985, according to Blavity.
“I believe the cultural divides in our communities will always be bridged and uplifted by music and the arts,” the 90-year-old Jones said in a statement. “With Ramova, I see a future where the rich cultural heritage of Chicago shines even brighter alongside the country’s most talented artists, which will inspire future generations to come and bring glory to America’s Second City.”
In her statement, Hudson referenced her late mother, Darnell Donnerson who was killed in the city in 2008. “My mother always taught us to take care of home first, so to support the rehabilitation of this extraordinary theater with such a rich history in Chicago means more to me than one could imagine,” Hudson said. “I am honored and thrilled to help build this new home for artists and highlight this special community in new ways that will reach far beyond the neighborhoods we call home.”
The Ramova Theater features an iconic sign and spanish-inspired architecture, it became the jewel of the neighborhood — a place for people to gather and communities to come together, according to the official website.
It will now be reimagined as a 1500+ person live concert hall, independent craft brewery, beer garden and grill.
“We’re doing a complete rehabilitation to this pillar in the community, bringing back its historic grill, creating a world-class entertainment space, adding a brewery where we hope people will meet their new best friends. We’re working closely alongside locals who have kept this space standing to allow us this opportunity to do something special for Bridgeport and Chicago,” developer Tyler Nevius wrote.
The Ramova Theater, which is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, will also amplify educational programs and workshops, as well as community initiatives from local non-profits.
“Chicago will always be part of who I am,” Chance The Rapper said in his statement. “I joined the team at Ramova to give back to the city that’s given me so much and to provide a stage to showcase the incredible talent Chicago has to offer. This is our moment to revitalize Chicago neighborhoods through one of the most beautiful ways possible — the arts.”
The space is set to open in Fall 2023.
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